It’s time to take a good, hard look at what we're filling childhoods with. At the relative value we're attaching to it all.
Repeat complex mathematical formulas, correctly format references, write neatly with a ballpoint pen, interpret Shakespeare, understand how chemical compounds interact, and memorise every event and person related to World War One? That’s for everyone.
Play an instrument, master an art medium, build and fix things with your hands, grow a garden, prepare a meal, think more critically, sing, dance, understand how money works, learn the value of failure, and ultimately develop a deeper sense of self-awareness? Just not as important, sorry.
We’ve had a finely-tuned factory making sure what we value sits within a specific, narrow, academic-focused band for generations. Standards, tests and grades have been our quality control. Rough edges have been smoothed and variations have been shaped into consistency.
But you cannot standardise people, at least not without serious collateral damage, and we should all be looking back in shock that we ever tried. Every human being on this planet is exceptional in their own way. Every person born is one of a kind. And if we’re required to hand our children over to an educational system for the bulk of their formative years, then it must respect that at its core.
Children not becoming good students has never been the problem. It’s the fact we decided such a concept even exists.
The sun is setting on the factory. When dawn breaks, it will be our differences that shine.